One Long September
Just 29 Blue Jay games to go and one big question looms.
Will this team win 70 games? It's going to be close, quite probably, a sensational swoon given that in May many were talking wild card and praising Cito Gaston as a magician.
Gaston and Paul Beeston are the Teflon Tandem, blamed for nothing, while J.P. Ricciardi is blamed for absolutely everything.
But 70 wins? Really?
The truly noteworthy part about being at the ballpark Thursday night, meanwhile, was the absolute indifference there is to the horrible season being experienced by Vernon Wells, one of baseball's highest paid players.
The Yanks brought all their big contracts to town and put them all on display in a powerful showing. The Jays have two biggie deals - Wells and Roy Halladay - and on a night Halladay wasn't pitching Wells once again really didn't figure much in the result. He went 0-4 with a walk and a run scored, didn't make a play of significance in the outfield and struck out to end the game.
Ho-hum. Just another nothing night.
But people don't seem to really react to this. They just shrug. No significant booing, as you might expect in a town where the likes of Bryan McCabe and Vince Carter were vilified in recent years.
It's as though Jays fans feel helpless in the face of Wells' gigantic $126 million deal signed in December of '06 that has made him the game's most untradeable player.
He got $25.5 million to sign, and while playing for a mere pittance of a salary this year - $1.5 million - the dollars really take off next year. It''s $12.5 million for 2010, then $23 million followed by THREE more seasons of $21 million.
In June, baseball people were wondering if Wells was off to a slow start and would turn his season around. As folks in the game love to say, it's a long season.
Well he hasn't. And fans, at least Thursday night, seem to have just accepted it, seemingly knowing that even if they decide to boo their lungs out at the worst contract in team history, they better be prepared to do it for five more years since Wells isn't ever going anywhere.
Maybe that's why fans boo individual players sometimes, hoping that management will ultimately decide to send that player packing.
But the Jays can't do that will Wells and the fans know it. This isn't B.J. Ryan, where simply dumping the player will mean a short-term hit, albeit a big one.
Backloading this contract, it appears, will be as destructive as the overall dollar amount.
And the fans seem resigned and simply shrug.